Who Wants to be a Sales Manager?
Being strategic and being tactical are often two things that can be confused with each other. These are two concepts that most definitely shouldn't be confused with by your sales manager. Just so we're all on the same page, tactics are how you get to an objective while strategy is the overall plan that usually involves coordinated activity and decision-making.
Now that we got that out of the way, a sales manager needs to be keeping an eye on your overall sales strategy while making sure not to neglect tactical elements. That's a fancy way of saying that you need to take care of your team. How? By dedicating most of your time to these areas:
5. Cake on Birthdays (okay, this isn't mandatory but who doesn't want cake on their birthday?!)
This is the big one. Half of your time as a sales manager should be dedicated to coaching your sales team. This isn't once a month. This is once a day. These can be part of your weekly sales meeting or ad-hoc discussions. Just make sure to keep them short and to the point. No more than 5 to 7 minutes. They can be focused on coaching before sales calls or debriefs after sales calls.
Why? Because it's your job to make sure your team is learning the right lessons and also executing your processes the right way. Are they focusing on the behaviours your sales culture has set up? Are they handling objections easily? Help them by role-playing various situations. Steal from each other. If one rep has a great script, share it with the team! Remove any roadblocks to their success especially if that roadblock is a bad habit.
The same way a chocolate factory has quality control along the production line, so should your sales process (your sales process should too). Are the reps doing what you're expecting them to do? Your brand makes promises to its customers. Are follow up calls being made? Are contracts being sent on time? A great sales manager makes sure these promises are kept.
Promises are also made internally. Are your reps filling your sales pipeline according to your expectations? Are they being active enough while prospecting? Is your CRM being updated in real-time? A good sales manager needs to make sure excuses are not tolerated when targets aren't met.
While giant firms may have sales reps applying hand over fist, the rest of us need to spend at least 3 or 4 hours per week maintaining a pipeline of potential candidates. It's in your best interest to build relationships with good sales people regardless of your firm having a job opening.
That potential candidate may not have any experience in your field but does exhibit talent and drive. I've personally kept the contact information of the door-to-door cable salesperson that spent an hour selling me a great deal on internet package on a Saturday afternoon.
Now, this is where the cake comes in! Well, it can be depending on how your team is made up. Your reps may not all be motivated by the same things. Some thrive on commission structure. Some on the thrill of the close. While others being part of a team. It's up to you to know the difference and provide your team with customized attention.
Know what makes your rep get up in the morning. What do they do in their spare time? What's on their bucket list (short and long-term)? Where do they see themselves in 5 to 10 years? Then sit down and see how you can help them get there.
I love being a sales manager. Not only do I get to help my teams hit their sales target, but achieve their life and career goals along the way. I get to do all of these things and help my teams get to not only their sales goals, but to their career and life goals. I previously confused tactical with strategic in my early days but after breaking down the process into these 4 major areas and making sure to spend 40-50 hours week on the process, I'm able to build a sustainable path to consistent sales result. There's also cake every few weeks.